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Cheap noise gate

3512 Views 84 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  High/Deaf
hi, i would like to know what noise gate would be the best. I like to play in distortion but my amp always make a death feedback (really hurt my ears) and then one of my friend showed me a deluxe big muff fuzz pedal and it had a noise gate on it, the feedback was gone. Unfortunately, i dont have a really big budget, only around 75-100$ So, what do you suggest?
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$75-100 should get you what you need, easily. When it comes to noise gates, it's not the quality of the pedal, but how you use it. The difficulty with trying to clean up the sins of a high-gain pedal is that the user ends up expecting too much out of the noise gate.

Gates are intended to tell the difference between signal and "noise", based entirely on signal level. It can not tell the difference between what you intend to play, and what gets generated spontaneously by sources of noise around and in the guitar, cables, pedals, etc. So what you need to do is make that task as easy as possible for the gate.

If you stick the gate after a high-gain pedal, then whatever noise entered that pedal is amplified, and so is any hiss generated inside the pedal, making the difference between signal and noise smaller. So, what many smarter gates do these days is to include a loop, indicated by the presence of send and return/receive jacks (i.e., look for a gate with four jacks, and not two). Your guitar goes directly into the gate. The send jack goes out to whatever pedals you are going to use. The output of the pedals comes back to the gate, and then the gate goes to your amp. This allows the gate to tell the difference between wanted and unwanted signal at that point where it is easiest and most reliable to do so, but apply the gating at the end, where the most noise will have accumulated.

The final output of the gate does not have to be the last thing before your amp. If you have other pedals that are known to not contribute much noise at all, feel free to stick them after the gate. What is most critical is to clean up the amplified hiss/hum that your higher-gain pedal/s have produced.
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Behringer pedals can be bought very cheaply. The circuits are often clones of earlier Boss pedals. I know people look down their noses at plastic-enclosure Behringers, and I understand their dislike of the switching in those pedals. But few players will be stepping on their noise gate pedals repeatedly during a gig. It will mostly be used as an always-on pedal, so the cheapness of the foot-treadle doesn't matter as much.
The suggestion about possible microphonics is worth exploring. And if it IS microphonics, then I'm not entirely sure a gate ahead of the amplifier would necessarily address the issue. I'm assuming that the FX included on the amp are all digital.
Don't expect to keep up to a drummer's volume with that amp.
I'd agree with you that precious few 20W amps would provide a clean sound that would be competitive with a drum kit. Don't forget that he likes his tone dirty. If cleanliness is not the objective, 20W amps are loud enough.
A-HA! Do you use a compressor, or a compression effect on your amp?
One of the things that compressors do is treat any noise remaining when you stop playing as a low-level signal that desperately needs boosting. It's such a common consequence that there is an industry-wide term for when that happens: "breathing". That is, when you stop playing, the compressor brings in greatly-amplified input noise so that it sounds like a person taking a deep inhale.

One of my favorite-ever compressors was one I made for myself using the SSM2166 chip. The chip includes downward expansion and compression capabilities such that anything below a certain minimum signal level is reduced even further. The result is dead quiet compressor function when you stop playing.

So maybe your noise problem stems from too much compression?
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Go at 1:30min, thats the kind of noise that i get
Okay, that clears it all up. As The Police once sang: Don't stand, don't stand, don't stand so close to me.

If your instrument is resonant, the gain is up high, the pickups are even a little microphonic, and you're facing in the "right" direction, it doesn't take that much volume at all to generate feedback. I can do it with a 2W battery-powered amp.

Justin is right in suggesting less gain. Remember that "gain" will often serve to act like compression, in that it can end up constricting the dynamic range. If you're at a close enough distance that the guitar or pickups can be jiggled into vibrating, you'll get feedback very easily.

Possible cures?
Verify that your pickups are potted (although many humbuckers are not, and deliberately so). One of the things I like to do is wrap the coils with Teflon plumber's tape. In many instances, it can be used to pack in the coil a little tighter so that it doesn't shake at higher sustained volumes.
Consider orienting your amp differently so that the chance of it being pointed directly at you is lessened.
Stand further back, and/or try not to face the amp when you play.
Don't sit on top of the amp like the guy in the video.
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The widely-accepted rule of thumb is that, holding speakers constant, one needs roughly 10x the wattage to double the perceived loudness. So, if one's current amp is capable of delivering sufficient current into a speaker load to yield 20W of power, it would take 200W for that same speaker cab to be heard as twice as loud. I suppose YMMV, but what that points to for me is that variations in speaker and cab efficiency (which can easily range over 15-20db for different drivers and cabs, compared to 3db for 10x the power) likely accounts for more than mere amplifier wattage. Driven by a 20W amp, a pair of efficient 30W 12s in a ported closed-back cab can sound immense compared to a 50W rated 10" of the same impedance in a smaller open-back cab.

Naturally, what often increases the perceived loudness of an amp is cab volume, which both changes the carrying weight, and often the spectral response. So, I wouldn't categorize a bigger cab with more efficient drivers as the solution to all ills. That said, often what some players desire from their amp is simply feeling their solar plexus vibrate a little when they hit an E chord. And if a larger cab with more bottom provides that tactile feedback, mission accomplished without the need for more wattage. Bottom also allows guitars to compete a little better with drums.

A great many lower-wattage amps are predicated on being for practice or beginners, and frequently have cabs that skimp on space, to save on wood, tolex, shipping costs by weight, packaging, and warehouse-storage/display-space requirements. Going by posted specs, the VT20 has an external cab volume of 2137 inches. An inch more in all 3 dimensions would provide an external volume of 2697 cubic. in. Let's say, for argument's sake, the cab is 1/2" plywood. That would yield a hypothetical internal volume of 1888 cubic inches, or roughly 1.1cubic feet. Adding the extra inch on all 3 dimensions gives an internal volume 2408 cubic inches, or about 1.4 cubic feet, or roughly 28% more internal volume.

The "thump" of an 8" speaker will generally be limited (though the 8" JBL I installed in my Tweed Princeton has a surprising amount of bottom - one of the main reasons why I bought it to replace the stock 8" Jensen), but that simple, seemingly small, change in cab dimensions would deliver a noticeably bigger sound. And I imagine it would also likely add at least $20-25 to sticker price. When manufacturers are going after that entry-level market, they will choose to go for a smaller cab than deliver a more satisfying product at a higher sticker price. Not only because it might jeopardize sales by making consumers more reluctant and possibly select a competitor's product ($25 means more to a beginner than to a pro), but because being happy with a budget product may stand in the way of upgrading to a more costly one from the same manufacturer.

At the other end of the spectrum, higher wattage is associated with greater headroom. If the goal is to be able to play louder cleans, then higher wattage is the preferred route. This is what made Twin Reverbs the go-to backline amp for so many musicians.

Try out your amp with an external cab and see what you think of its potential.
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Presumably there are "spade lug" connectors to the speaker for easy installation. Those can be easily connected to an extension cable to another speaker cab. Not pretty, but it works.
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